First Day of Fifth Grade!

Wow–how is it already the first day of school?  Seems like it was just the last day of school. 🙂

I only have enough energy to share a couple of things from our day–tells you how busy we were!  I need an early bedtime!

First of all, here’s how I introduced myself to my kiddos today:

I was so excited to read about this idea when my friend Michelle shared it with me from here.  I took a little bit of a different twist on the content, but really enjoyed making it!

While we did not really follow our “official” schedule today, since it was just Day 1, we did try to fit our community building and routine learning activities somewhere near the time they would actually happen.  We read aloud some of my favorites–I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen, as well as First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.  We did a 5th Grade pursuit (the old “find someone who” game where you sign each others’ papers), found a new book for each kiddo to read, started investigating ways we are smart (more with this tomorrow!), did our first Math Warm-Up of the year, introduced Writer’s Workshop and wrote postcards home about the first day of school.  Like I said, we were busy!

But even with all that fun and excitement, I’m pretty sure that the only thing my new kiddos will tell their families when they get home is that

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 8.56.15 PM

Yep.  Definitely gonna be needing some snacks this year. 🙂

So all-in-all it was a great day! Can’t wait to get back in there and do it all over again tomorrow.

But before I go, I have one thing to say to all of new my friends–new to me and new to Kirkwood: WELCOME! You belong here. 🙂

One Kirkwood, One Team

Every year on Opening Day, each school comes with their own school shirt–all different colors with that year’s theme or focus for their individual building.  It’s not officially a competition (because of course everyone knows Robinson would win for the coolest shirts every time!), but there’s definitely pride for your school and the teachers with which you work.

This year was different, though, as the whole district come together with just one shirt.  One Kirkwood.  As we start a new school year, with many uncertainties and possibilities, it’s more important than ever that we are united.  That we are all working toward the same goals.  And seeing everyone in the same shirt definitely helped visually remind us of that unity.

The same is true with my teaching team this year.  Now of course, there is always a level of “oneness” among the team–we have the same curriculum goals, for instance–but this year we’re taking that to a new level.  We are making it our goal, from day one, that every kiddo in our 5th grade knows that they have many teachers, many people to care for them, support them, and help them achieve their best. We’re considering all these fabulous new kiddos OUR kids, rather than MY kids.  This year we’re intentionally including ALL the members of that team–including interventionists, teacher assistants, instructional specialists and special education teachers–in our community building, introductions, class activities, etc.  We are all working together to help make EVERY kiddo in ALL of our classes successful.  Together.

Our FABULOUS 5th Grade Team--Mrs. Cheatham, Mr. Shelton, me, Mrs. Hong (back); Ms. Turken, Ms. Yun and Mrs. Bell (front)

Our FABULOUS 5th Grade Team–Mrs. Cheatham, Mr. Shelton, me, Mrs. Hong (back); Ms. Turken, Mrs. Jeon and Mrs. Bell (front) Mrs. Sondermann, Mrs. Meihaus, the special area teachers and our amazing TAs are not pictured, but still a CRUCIAL part of our team, too!

One Kirkwood, One Team! Go Roadrunners!  🙂

Opening Day!

Today was officially the end of summer–Opening Day in Kirkwood School District!  I don’t know what it’s like in other places, but our Opening Day festivities are something I look forward to every year.  I remember the first Opening Day I went to 13 years ago very vividly, and they’ve somehow gotten even better since then!

We are small enough that we can put everyone who works in our district in one room–a rare thing, I know–but it definitely adds to the family connections that we feel with other teachers.  Generally, the agenda is the same every year: speeches by administration, videos made to kick off the district theme for the year, introductions of all the new teachers and staff for the upcoming year, announcement of support staff of the year awards, presentations of the Teachers of the Year, an address by the district Teacher of the Year, and then a staff-directed skit again tying to this year’s theme.  All of that is great fun (really!), but perhaps everyone’s favorite part is the last part of the morning: a performance by the KHS Marching Pioneers!  They give us a sneak peek of their halftime show, then end with the alma mater and the fight song.  There is so much energy in that room and we end on such a high note–literally (ha ha)!  Here’s a highlight from this morning:

I mean, come on–how can you NOT be excited after that?  🙂

I don’t know if I’ve said before how much I LOVE where I work, but I definitely think that Kirkwood School District is one of the very best places to teach–pretty much anywhere.  I am lucky to be a part of such a fabulous group of people!  Go Pioneers and here’s to a SUPER 2013-2014 school year!

If you’re a teacher, what does your Opening Day look like?